- This topic mainly addresses blisters from friction or blood blisters from a pinching injury
- Friction Blister: Raised pocket of clear fluid, covered by skin. Friction blisters usually occur on the palms, fingers, heels or toes.
- Blood Blister: Raised pocket of bloody fluid, covered by skin. Dark red or purple in color. A blood blister can occur when the skin gets pinched (in a hinge or a closing door).
- Blisters when the cause is unknown are also covered
- Friction causes most blisters on the hands and feet.
- Definition: A raised pocket of clear fluid covered by skin.
- Cause: A friction blister is the result of friction and shear forces separating off the top layer of the skin. This creates a cushion (blister) of fluid over the area of friction or pressure.
- Common Locations: Gripping surface of fingers, palm, back of heel, top of toes, side of foot.
- Hand Friction Blisters: Hand blisters are usually due to friction from prolonged use of a tool (e.g., a shovel, pick, rake), sports equipment (e.g. tennis racquet), rowing (i.e., oars), canoeing (paddle), kayak (paddle), and gymnastics equipment (e.g., high bars, parallel bars).
- Foot Friction Blisters: Foot blisters are usually due to friction from an activity like hiking and running. Usually the individual has new shoes, ill-footing shoes, just recently started the activity, or recently increased the amount of the activity.
- Prevention: There are two general approaches to prevent friction blisters: toughening the skin and reducing friction force.
- Complications: Local pain or secondary infection
- Treatment: Painless or minimally painful small blisters can be treated with a piece of moleskin or tape that has a hole cut in the center. Larger or severely painful blisters generally need to be punctured with a sterile needle or pin to let all the blister fluid out. Then the blister can be covered with antibiotic ointment and a dressing.
Other Causes of Blisters on Feet and Hands
- Burns - Chemical
- Burns - Thermal
- Frostbite (second degree)
- Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (viral rash from Coxsackie virus)
- Impetigo: Staph bacteria can cause impetigo with blisters
- Insect bites: In young children, insect bites (e.g., fleas) can cause small blisters
- Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, Poison Sumac
- Sunburn (second degree)
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